July 26, 2013
Day 1 of our trek: Edgar with a young boy in tow to carry my suitcase showed up at my hotel at 5:30. Thank goodness he had help as my street is all steps and no cars can drive through. We then picked up the other travelers at their hotels and made it out of Cusco by 6:30. I had gotten very little sleep the night before as I was so nervous and excited about starting this trek,I did not want to oversleep and miss my pick up time. We drove for over 2 hours to the small village of Mollepata. Here we had breakfast of eggs and toast, tang juice and an odd cocoa which I could not finish. We drove further until we got to the start of the trails and to load the horses with our gear. It was a beautiful sunny day and spirits were high. We dressed warmly and applied sunscreen too being that we would be hiking in the Andes. We had a good pace but I was definitely the slowest as I had much difficulty with breathing. We had a lovely 6 hour hike with stops along the way where we could share our snacks. We made it to our campsite where we had the option to go on another hike after lunch up to a lake. Our tents were all set up on a concrete platform with tarp walls and tin roof. We were in a bowl with beautiful view to snow capped mountains on the north and west sides and clear mountains and the valley that we had just travelled through in the south and east. Our first meal with Juan Carlos our cook would be the first of many amazing gourmet, Peruvian meals. After lunch we had a 20 minute nap then Bernie our guide was ready to take anyone to the lake. I started but after a few steps realized it would be too hard to continue to climb for 2 hours and headed back. Instead I enjoyed exploring the campsite, the views and resting after our first long hike. Dinner was amazing again, we had a great time sitting on camp stools eating and drinking. It was quite cold, beautiful constellations with the southern cross much higher in the sky along with Scorpius. As the night got darker, the sky got more and more beautiful.
Our tents and equipment are great quality so with the warm sleeping bag, fleece body sock and all my clothes, I was actually quite warm during the night. Tomorrow we rise early to start the hardest day or our trek: climbing up and through the Salkantay pass.